My DD turned 4 last month and does recognise letters and numbers. I attribute that entirely to daycare, which she started attending full time (50 hours a week) at 15 months, until she got diagnosed with cancer in August. They taught her a lot of stuff that they learn in school anyway, so she's pretty good with that stuff.
My DS was totally different. He went to sessional kindergarten and I'm pretty sure all they did was play. Which is fine, but I think he could've done better in prep and grade 1 if he had had just a little bit more actual school-type learning in kindergarten.
just her chameleon (25-11-2015)
There is a huuuuuge range of "normal". Eg My DD (2 last August) can count to 10 and count objects to 10. She tries to go to 18 but it's more funny than it is accurate. She can identify letters and numbers etc. But I would say that is at the higher end of normal.
I've had children come into Prep not knowing the difference between a letter and a number eg you show them the numeral 3 and ask them what it is and they say "F" or "P" or any other random letter that pops into their head. It's not unheard of.
So what can you do? Read. Read. Read a little bit more, and then read more. If you already read, add an extra book per day into that. Provide books for your children to pore over, to stare at the pictures, to recite their favourites back to you. Sing to them. Sing them nursery rhymes and silly made up songs.
Immerse children in literature! Count with them all the time. Count every little thing until you are dreaming about counting in your sleep.
Converse with them. Talk to them ALL the time. Even about things you find to be mundane and boring!
Put down the smartphone. Or walk away from the computer. (I'm definitely not saying you spend an exorbitant amount of time on either of these things. I'm telling you what I would recommend to anyone and everyone who asks the question about helping their children with letters and numbers. It's a general 'you'! ) We spend so much time looking at screens that we miss perfectly wonderful teaching opportunities all the time. Myself included. I'm no angel and I spend way too much time looking at a screen instead of at my children. But my point is you don't need fancy technology to teach kids stuff like this- if they are surrounded by it they pick it up naturally. Some a lot more easier than others, I might add. So don't stress about it!
Lastly, one thing that I had when my boys were young up until about 12 months ago when I saw they were going yuck and I threw them out- the foam letters and numbers that you can buy for the bath. Once wet they will stuck with suction to your tiles or bathtub or shower walls or wherever. My boys learnt so much from those things, and they were so cheap. We got them at target. Same idea with the magnetic letters you can buy for the fridge.
Language immersion is they key. Good luck, and please try not to stress!!
I agree with Nomsie above, learning opportunities are everywhere!
My 3 and just turned 5 year old love getting in the shower with me and 'drawing' on the shower screen with their fingers on the steam. They write their names, letters, numbers and anything else they or we think of. They think it's a hoot!
When they're getting dressed we count the buttons, we sing silly made up songs, nursery rhymes all the time and play 'eye spy with my little eye'.
I actually had my five year old ask me why when I read a book or magazine do I not make a sound when I am 'reading', so I had to explain to her that I'm an adult and we usually read in our heads .
It made me stop and realise just how much they actually watch what you do and take it in, it never would have occurred to me that she notices me reading as much as she does, and the innocence of her question.
Even art and craft with your kids is a time spent learning, you don't have to be Martha Stewart or a super Pinterest Mum, but fine motor skills with drawing and painting help as well.
Mine are really interested in telling the time at the moment, so we made a 'clock' out of a paper plate, used patty cake papers as our number indicators and the hands with 2 pipe cleaners. Every day they ask me to ask them a 'time' and we have to rotate the well worn pipe cleaners around this dodgy clock but they love it.
The same with the Supermarket, my three year old gets bored and restless if I need to do groceries, so it's her job to count out the fruit into bags for me.
Again, learning opportunities are everywhere, as I said, there's no need to be ott or need a lot of time, just the simple things go a long way.
Eta: In answer to the OP, yes, all my kids were able to write their name and recognise letters and numbers by age three, count to 100 etc.
Last edited by Mod-Uniquey; 25-11-2015 at 14:57.
My 2.5 year old DD knows the alphabet, can count to 20 and recognises 1-10 and half the alphabet. Her daycare's curriculum is outstanding though. She is ahead academically according to her teachers.
My 2.5 year old can count to 30, recognise 0-10, can say the alphabet and recognise all the letters. We do a lot of the things suggested above - I count everything and ask him what letters he can see and we do puzzles with letters and numbers. He is very interested though, it would be hard if he wasn't keen as their attention can be very hard to hold. Just persist with trying to introduce the concepts and try not to stress, there is a whole spectrum of normal.
As said above, I do count everything, ask if he sees any letters and basic stuff but it seems to me he isn't very interested. Although I have noticed with almost everything it is so hard to keep his attention. He is so hyperactive and excited about doing things but when you start to do it his attention goes elsewhere. He is more of an active outdoorsy kid too and would rather be moving running around etc.
Maybe he needs a tablet/ipad for christmas. I know for a fact he'd sit there and use it, he's always stealing my phone and taking pictures and opening apps himself.
Does he attend kindergarten or similar? If so perhaps have a chat to the educator regarding your concerns. Sometimes they are great with other people but not interested when mum or dad tries.
I would be freaking out if my son were about to start prep and couldn't count or recognise letters/numbers. It doesn't mean there is something wrong, but I would be worried about him being left behind. The year they start prep depends on the month they were born (different from state to state), in qld if they are born July or later they start the following year (ie the year they turn 6). So much can happen in a year.
My DS (4) loves numbers and could recognise numbers and letters from a very early age, it blew my mind. He's also been very good at counting, placing numbers in order etc. I once caught him in the bath counting to 100?! But he is clearly very interested in it and we haven't had to do much encouraging. On the other hand drawing and writing isn't his strong point, they all have strengths in different areas and they will all catch up so don't worry too much.
Puzzles with letters/numbers etc are good, we used these before we introduced ipad apps (which I am still a bit funny about, don't want him becoming a computer addict just yet!).
Try to find what interests your child and you'll find he will learn faster that way.
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